Objective. The main aim is to investigate stability of territorial differentiation of hospitalization and attempt at explaining the causes of this phenomenon.
Method. The hospital-registered prevalence (HRP) indicators in various provinces of Poland in the years 1999 and 2003 were analyzed (the number of patients treated, patient days, and long-term inpatients). A number of independent variables potentially affecting HRP were taken into account: the economic situation indicators, accessibility of inpatient care and of nursing homes, as well as post-treatment care accessibility. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was used in the statistical analysis.
Results and conclusions. A considerable territorial differentiation of HRP was found - the highest prevalence of hospitalization was twice as high as the lowest one, while the prevalence of long-term hospitalization was between ten and twenty times higher than the lowest values. In the five-year period under study a relatively high HRP was noted in four provinces (Lubuskie, Opolskie, Pomeranian and Western Pomeranian), while comparatively low - in other five regions (Kujawsko-pomorskie, Łódzkie, Mazovian, Małopolskie and Podkarpackie). Territorial differentiation of HRP is associated with the economic situation, accessibility of psychiatric beds and nursing homes, accessibility of psychiatric outpatient clinics and of community self-help facilities. No relationship was found between HRP and accessibility of either day treatment units or mobile community teams - most probably because accessibility of the latter two forms of care is a few times lower than the desired minimum.